03/12/2013 06:28 pm ET Updated May 12, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Raise your hand if you ever said, "Are we there yet?" when you were a kid. Perhaps your kids say it to you now. But it really does express how many of us approach lifestyle changes. So, let's explore the actual process of lifestyle change a little more. I think most of us can think of an example of something we'd like to "arrive" at. For example, many individuals who want to lose weight have a specific number in mind. And that once they get to that number, their weight loss, and participation in a program, will stop. Many of my patients are impatient at the length of time it takes to go from the original weight (or health, or attitude, or relationship) to the final destination. What if it's not the destination, but instead the process that's important?

I can imagine that your first response is "Nope, it's the result!" But bear with me on this one. I'll use weight, since it is a perfect example. My patients who are overweight or obese are often eager to get to their "perfect" weight, and start intense programs to lose weight. Inevitably, during the process, there is a time in which the weight loss slows or even stops.

Rarely do I hear my patients express satisfaction at this point. In fact, in some twist of impulses, the absence of weight loss is often enough to make overweight and obese individuals quit their program entirely! But I would assert that we've missed the point here.

While weight is a symptom of underlying imbalance, it in and of itself is not usually the primary imbalance (although it can cause other imbalances... more on that in another post). Since it's so visible, it is often what we focus on the most. Especially since you can't "see" inflammation, calories, slow digestion and poor absorption, but you can see weight! So weight loss often becomes a sort of "holy grail" and our stand-in for true, lasting lifestyle change.

But let me ask you a question. What happens if you actually reach your goal weight? My suspicion is that you celebrate (as you well should, for a job well done!). However, when the celebration is over, do you continue on the type of program that got you to your ideal weight? Or, do you go back to the habits that caused your weight gain in the first place? If the stories my patients tell me are any indication, a large percentage of individuals revert back to their original habits.

So my assertion stands. While weight loss is a nice goal, it's not the weight loss that is important, but instead creating and maintaining habits that lead to the improved health that the weight loss indicates. Habits like mindful, balanced eating; moving your body regularly; and consistently managing your stress. You should enjoy special treats that are truly special -- not daily and maybe not even weekly, if we are looking at a lifetime of lifestyle change.

I don't mean to be discouraging. (Actually, it's totally the opposite -- I want to inspire you to change your life today!) My goal is to re-frame your view so that you are looking at things in a way that helps you achieve lasting results and helps you get to that "ideal" weight as part of your overall commitment to your vibrant good health. In the next posts, we are going to explore how the adrenals can either help this process along, or hinder it.

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